Wednesday, August 1, 2012

NBC Sinks To New Low For High Ratings

NBC is continuing to face criticism over its Olympic coverage in London.   In this latest incident, live viewers of the women’s gymnastics’ team final saw Russia’s Ksenia Afanasyeva take a serious fall during her floor exercise. The glaring error virtually handed the gold medal to the Americans early on in the competition.

But NBC's tape-delayed coverage edited out Afanasyeva’s dramatic fall from its primetime broadcast, which would normally be unthinkable-- since she’s the reigning world champion for floor exercises. But there is widespread suspicion the network didn’t show her face-plant in order to create suspense over whether the Americans would win gold. Adding to this suspicion was NBC's steadfast refusal during the entire broadcast to include camera shots that would show standings on the arena scoreboards in the background.

Al Trautwig got in on the deception as well, asking (before the Americans followed the Russian on the floor exercises) whether the U.S. "can deliver a knockout blow"-- even though in reality the Russian mistake eliminated any doubt of U.S. winning gold. Deadspin's Timothy Burke also takes note of NBC's attempt to drum up further drama over the American women's chances by showing Aly Raisman missing a tumble landing during warmups.  In my opinion, all of this goes way beyond simple editing choices and is outright manipulation. Trying to stoke ratings in this way is insulting to sports fans.

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